Before starting any DIY project, it’s important that you take the proper safety measures. Here are some great tips that will help you be your own handyman in no time.
1. Always wear protective clothing including safety goggles, gloves and, if needed, a dust mask when working with potentially hazardous materials such as glass or spray paint or when working in a dusty environment.
2. When painting, or using any material that generates toxic fumes or dust, keep the room well ventilated. Never smoke while painting or standing close to a freshly painted area as fumes given off could ignite.
3. Always use the correct tools for the job. It’s worth investing in high-quality equipment as this will be safer and probably do the job quicker. Buying cheap tools will cost more in the long run because you’ll have to replace them more often.
4. Store tools in a safe place, out of reach of children and pets. Keep them in a toolbox or on a tool rack.
5. When using knives, always cut away from yourself. Cut slowly and pay attention because a blade slips in the blink of an eye. Always store knives securely.
6. When fixing or checking electrical appliances or connections, always switch off the power at the main source (circuit board). If you’re fixing an electrical appliance, switch off the appliance at the socket and pull out the plug. Wear rubber-soled shoes when working on electrics.
7. Never ever use water to put out an electrical fire or on an electrical appliance. Only simple electrical work, like changing a plug, should be done without an expert, anything more complex should be tackled by a professional.
8. When using power tools, choose models that have a plastic non-conducting body. Unplug the tool before fitting any parts and remove loose keys before switching on. Avoid wearing loose clothing or jewellery, which could get caught in the tool, and make sure long hair is tied back!
9. Ladders are one of the main causes of DIY accidents. Erect the ladder according to the manufacturer’s instructions and make sure that the ladder is securely balanced before attempting to do any work on it.
10. Don’t rush your job, as you’re more likely to have an accident. Carefully plan the job before you start work. Know your limitations and consult a professional if you’re unsure. It’s also a good idea to ask someone if they can help you.
What you should have in your toolbox
To become a DIY diva, you need to build up a basic toolbox for your home — there’s nothing worse than attempting a DIY task and not having what you need. Here are some essentials to get you started:
- Safety goggles: They may be ‘geeky’, but you need them for most home cleaning, repair or building jobs. They protect your eyes from nails, screws, bolts, wood, plastic and liquids.
- Tape measure: The best measuring tape to buy is the retractable metal type – a 5-m one is more than adequate.
- Claw hammer: Hammers come in different sizes and weights, and with different faces and ends. For most projects, the traditional claw-end style will work.
- Screwdrivers: Get an electric one if you have the budget, otherwise make sure you have a few different sizes of star and flat screwdrivers.
- Junior hacksaw: Great for all those metal odds and ends that need cutting when scissors just won’t do!
- Stanley knife: Perfect for stripping wire when installing a plug or cutting string etc.
- Spirit level: A must if you’re hanging anything like pictures, curtains and shelving.
- Shifting spanner: This tool will be able to grab 98% of things you will work on.
- Varying set of screws and nails: Nail and screw kits are available at most hardware stores.
- Hilti hammer, nails and caps
- Insulation tape for basic electrical work.
- Masking tape to section off skirting boards when you’re painting.
- Drill bits for wood, masonry and metal
- Power drill: An absolute must for putting up pictures or doors. A high quality 500 to 600-watt drill will do, and it’s not worth penny-pinching here.
- Insulated needle nose pliers: These can be used for tightening or loosening nuts and bolts, as well as for bending wires or small pipes.
- And, of course, a sturdy toolbox to keep all your tools safe.